What Are Artesian Wells?
Artesian wells are those from which water flows freely. These wells are man-made and are created by boring into the rock to a channel that is lower than the water source. The resulting artesian well has the advantage over vertical wells of not requiring a pump; this occurs when there is enough pressure in the aquifer. The pressure forces the water to the surface without any sort of assistance.
The water will pour out naturally without the aid of any mechanism until the wells run dry. For this reason artesian wells, although often several hundred feet deep, may be only a few inches wide. This prevents undue loss of water. The term “artesian well” is derived from Artesium, the ancient name for Artois in Northern France, where a famous free-flowing well was excavated early in the 12th Century.
When researching a borehole for your property or business you might have come across the term Artesian Well, but what does it actually mean and how is it different? Firstly, artesian groundwater is the same as any other type of groundwater the only difference is how it gets to the surface. An artesian well is simply a well that doesn’t require a pump to bring water to the surface.
An aquifer is a geologic layer of permeable and porous rock such as sandstone or limestone and that provides the water source for the artesian well. The aquifer absorbs and stores water and in an artesian well the porous stone is sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of impermeable rock such as shale or clay. This causes positive pressure.
The first Artesian well on record was drilled in 1126 by a group of Monks in the French province of Artois, back then they didn’t have the luxury of a fully operation drilling rig like we use today and the aquifer was reached by brute force and a sharp rod known as a bore. The percussive drilling technique they used eventually broke through the rock and the water rose to the surface. Because it had seeped through many layers of porous rock in the aquifer many of the contaminants had been filtered out, providing a much safer and cleaner form of drinking water when compared with surface or river water.